A year has passed since the start of DC Reboot and naturally, now is the time to assess whether or not it was simply as success or not. Obviously it's difficult to come up with a straight black and white yes or no answer but undoubtedly, there has been failures and successes.
This is the first part of a two part list assessing how DC has benefited and suffered from the reboot in a good ol' fashioned Top 10 list. First off is how DC has benefited from the Reboot!
10. THE TALENT
When organising a huge event like the New 52, you have to have the chops to back it up. And DC have done that in style, bringing fan-favourite artist Jim Lee to draw the flagship title, Justice League. DC also took some of the industry's best writers and artists to helm many of their new 52 titles on a regular basis including Kenneth Rocafort, Francis Manapul, Scott Snyder and Grant Morrisson, just to name a few. This consistent array of talent was a great incentive to buy the rebooted books that DC was asking many skeptical readers to believe in. In fact, a readers favourite artist or writer is enough to convince a reader to buy and maybe even stick with a title they would otherwise have no interest in. DC has also managed to keep a lot of these creators on board their respective titles creating a consistent title that readers can believe in.
9. THE JUSTICE LEAGUE
Undoubtedly, the Justice League is DC's premier team, collecting the companies biggest and most popular heroes into one team. The reboot took the team to it's very beginnings creating a new origin with new dynamics. The opening arc felt like it was written for a movie, creating an un-complicated and enjoyable read for new and old readers.
This may cause some debate as some were unhappy with the title. However, from a marketing perspective, the Justice League has been a complete success. The title was one of the easiest titles to jump on board with as new readers didn't need to know a thing before picking it up. Cyborg was a fresh perspective in the series in which readers could relate to, not only as he was new to this world (like the reader) but also because he represented youth and diversity in a team of practical Gods. 'Justice League' was also written like a blockbuster action film with some of the most famous fictional superheroes known whilst simultaneously giving them an arch-nemesis. With A-List characters and creators, 'Justice League' presented the perfect jumping on point for new readers while also giving old readers something to enjoy which perfectly fitted in with the Reboot's MO.
8. CROSSING OVER
One unique feature of the first issues of the new 52 was the mysterious Pandora, appearing in the background of each #1 issue, readers were intrigued by who she was and what she meant. Since then Pandora has shown to be a very important player leading into the 'Trinity War' that, although highly talked about, no one quite knows what it is. A prospect of DC's first major event is exciting and DC have planned it to the letter. One big complaint about Marvel is 'event fatigue', meaning many fans are getting tired of the constant 'game changing' events which take over their titles. But the prospect of the 'Trinity War' is something to get excited about as there have been no major, crossover-ing events yet, well not on the scale of 'AvX' anyway.
While we've had no major events or crossovers, we have had some 'little ones'. A few titles have had some successful crossovers with other titles like the I, Vampire/Justice League Dark crossover 'Rise of the Vampires' and the Swamp Thing/Animal 'Rotworld'. But the major success story of the New 52 crossovers is the Batman family orientated 'Court of Owls'. The event was critically acclaimed and presented the sheer potential the reboot has for new, original storylines, events and crossovers.
One of the biggest successes of the reboot has been the successful re-invention of Aquaman. While Aquaman is an A-List comic book character, with non-regular comic book readers knowing who he is, he has always been a bit of a joke. This portrayal of Aquaman as a useless merman that 'talks to fish' is often shown in the media from 'The Big Bang Theory' to 'Family Guy'. However, with a few years out of the spotlight (before Brightest Day anyway), the reboot came with an opportunity to turn that around. By using that exact joke in the title, Aquaman proved he was no longer that character. The first issue of his series quickly, but efficiently, re-invented his character. With a new, more aggressive attitude and use of powers, Aquaman has not only become one of the best, most consistent titles in DC, but he's also become the poster boy of what a reboot can do.
6. SHARED UNIVERSE
Along with a rebooted universe came a shared universe, with the worlds of Vertigo and Wildstorm joining the DCU. While many were skeptical about this move, the reboot has presented an opportunity to get these fan favourite characters out there without them fading into obscurity. And although these characters no longer exist in their respective companies they do now exist in titles that certainly feel like them.
5. CONSISTENCY AND SCHEDULE
The set number of titles along with allocated release dates was a genius move. There's nothing more frustrating for a comic book reader then not knowing when the next issue of their favourite title is coming out. Not only was this a bold move, but also an unrealistic one, creators are only human and they're bound to fall behind their writing/art duties, especially if they're doing multiple titles at once. But DC has managed to pull it off with little to no disruption in the schedule they originally set a year ago. This way fans know when their titles are coming out whilst providing an even spread of diverse titles, creating consistency within a company before the title has even been read.
4. BRAND RECOGNITION
The reboot not only changed the titles and characters, but also it's whole marketing brand. With a new logo and new merchandise, the reboot has opened a new look to everything, even outside of comics, including film, animation and toys. The reboot's successfully rejuvenated the brand itself which is no easy task.
3. UN-COMPLICATING THE MULTIVERSE
I'll admit it, I'm more of a Marvel guy. In-fact before the reboot, I only picked up a few DC titles. After the reboot I now pick up lots of DC titles. So therefore, the whole purpose of the reboot as worked on me. But one of the things about the DCU that put me off before was it's complicated relationship with alternate/future universes. All the many 'crises' that DC have had over the years made the whole multiverse thing extremely complicated. I couldn't even look into it without getting confused. SO many different characters from different universes, so many dead heroes replaced by their alternate versions and so forth. So with the reboot I was extremely pleased to learn that that had relatively, been scrapped. The new 'Earth 2' has a brand new slate and a brand new series with only Huntress and Power Girl in the main DCU. While the Worlds' Finest title isn't as consistent as Earth 2, the whole concept feels new and un-convoluted and we get to see what appears to be the forming of the new JSA and what will hopefully be a cross between both worlds. I men, we all can't wait to see ol' Bats reaction to his 'daughters' presence.
2. WOMEN ON TOP
Batgirl, Batwoman, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Voodoo, Supergirl, Catwoman, Worlds' Finest and Swords and Sorcery. What do they all have in common? They all feature female leads. The role of female characters and female creators has always been debated. This was a controversial issue when the new 52 first came out with some very explicit and seemingly sexist things going on books like Red Hood and the Outlaws, starring Starfire, Mister Terrific, with Powergirl, and Catwoman. The books featured barely clothed females, respected superheroes in their own right, with a casual sexual demeanor. This, along with the lack of female creators, led to a backlash, with DC being criticized over the role of females at DC. However, since then, a lot of changes have been made. While Catwoman still needs a bit of work, and Voodoo suffered heavily from creative changes leading to cancellation, Starfire's role has drastically changed in the Outlaws and more and more women are being employed from Amy Reeder to the epic Nicola Scott. While things still aren't perfect (Like the Catwoman #0 cover), things are certainly much better and DC women are kicking ass. Along with the female solo and team titles, the future looks bright with characters like Harley Quinn, Amanda Waller, Dawnstar, Zatanna, Bleez, Mera, Fairchild, Mary, Queen of Blood, Wonder Girl and Carol Ferris taking big roles in their respective titles and the upcoming ongoing Swords and Sorcery, staring fan-favourite Amethyst. Hopefully even more female creators can break through and change some comic book stereotypes. There's a time and a place for Cheesecake.
Plus just look at the amount of titles led by women. DC have faith in their females!
It also put into perspective the state of female characters over on the Marvel side in the wake of an X-23 and Black Widow cancellation, leading to Marvel beginning to up it's game with Captain Marvel, an upcoming Red She-Hulk ongoing, Sif taking charge in Journey Into Mystery and hopefully more fixes in Marvel NOW!
1.THE UNORTHODOX SIDE OF THE DCU
One of the biggest successes and benefits from the DC reboot, has been the critical and sales response towards some of the strangest ongoing titles DC have offered in decades. When the full solicitations of the new 52 were released, I'll admit I, along with many other people, rolled their eyes at titles like I, Vampire and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and immediately thought the titles wouldn't last long before cancellation.
But now I eat the biggest slice of humble pie as titles like I, Vampire and Animal Man are some of my favourite ongoing runs ever. Not only this but the 'Dark' and the 'Edge' side (as DC have affectionately named them) of the DCU offer some of the most critically acclaimed titles of the new 52. However, sometimes critical acclaim doesn't always meet sales and O.M.A.C. was one of the first titles to be cancelled. Despite this, the other titles are still going strong, surviving the second and third waves of the DCnU. If DC have any wits about them, they'll leave it that way as the 'dark' and the 'edge' offer a different and unique side to not only the DCU, but also to comics.
So that's my list and the 10 biggest ways I believe DC has benefited from the Reboot. I welcome any kind of comments and would love to hear what are your 10 are. If you disagree with any of my choices, stay tuned for my second list '10 Ways DC has... suffered from the Reboot' as I explore the Teen Titans, Stephanie Brown, Rob Liefeld, pissing off creators and diversity.